SA’s Blue Train to go private

first_img24 April 2007South Africa’s famous ultra-luxury Blue Train is set to go private. State rail company Spoornet is to offer the Blue Train to investors on a long-term lease, as the operator focuses on its core business of bulk freight transportation.According to Business Day, Public Enterprises Director-General Portia Molefe told Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises last month that the department had received a disposal strategy from Spoornet’s parent company, Transnet, with bidding to start by the end of April.According to the newspaper, bidding will be open to both local and international rail operators, with speculation that Chinese, Indian and British investors are interested in the sale.“Unlike other previous privatisation attempts, the disposal of the Blue Train has received the blessing of trade unions, which see the train as not being strategic to the interests of the working class,” Business Day adds.‘Moving five-star hotel’The Blue Train is synonymous with the ultimate in luxury and personal service. “Kings and presidents have travelled on this magnificent moving five-star hotel,” the Blue Train website proclaims.The train’s regular route between Pretoria and Cape Town, which includes a stop-over in Kimberley, is described as “a 27-hour journey of 1 600 kilometres through some of the most diverse and spectacular scenery offered by the African sub-continent”.The train also offers trips between Pretoria and Zimbali Lodge outside Durban during November, and specials such as a Mother’s Day trip between Pretoria and Sun City.There are currently two Blue Train “sets”. The one accommodates 82 guests in 41 suites, while the other carries 74 guests in 37 suites and includes a conference or observation deck at the rear of the train.The train is the epitome of luxury, with butlers on board are ready to attend to any of the guests’ needs. Two engineers are also always on hand to share their knowledge about the train with enthusiasts or curious travellers.According to the website, a meal on the Blue Train is an experience in itself, with the menus featuring a selection of local cuisine – from Karoo lamb and ostrich fillet to Knysna oysters – accompanied by award-winning cultivars from the Cape winelands.The train has received numerous awards through its 61-year existence, including Diners Club platinum awards for its wine lists, a “superior status” award from the AA Grading Council, and numerous “world’s leading luxury train” awards in the World Travel Awards.Christina Patterson, in an article published in London’s The Independent in March 2006, wrote: “Truly, the train, celebrating its 60th birthday, offers the luxury, and opulence, of another era.“We shriek with delight over our beautiful compartments, each with its own mini wardrobe, telly and tiny bathroom. We also shriek with delight at the ‘club lounge’. In spite of our resolutions, we’re soon toasting our trip in sparkling wine and biltong.“Perhaps the Queen, who made the same journey with Princess Margaret in 1947, did the same.” reporter Want to use this article in your publication or on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Land acquisition: Mayawati hits back, says Congress mother of corruption

first_imgUnder attack over violence in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Thursday launched a scathing attack on Congress and BJP on the issue of land acquisition, saying farmers in states ruled by the two parties were agitated over poor compensation. Addressing BSP workers from Delhi at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi, the BSP chief alleged that Congress is considered as the “mother of corruption” in the country. Mayawati, under attack from opposition parties in UP on the issue of corruption, used the opportunity to attack the ruling party at the Centre on the same issue. Citing irregularities in the run up to the Commonwealth Games, she said the money wasted in corruption could haver been used to upgrade the living conditions of people from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who have come the national capital to earn a living. Mayawati alleged that the “corruption” during the Commonwealth Games had the patronage and encouragement of Congress-ruled Delhi government. On the issue of land acquisition, said before accusing her party of wrongdoings on acquiring farmlands in the backdrop of violence in Bhatta Parsaul village in Greater Noida, Congress and BJP should take stock of situation in states ruled by the two parties. She claimed in Congress-ruled Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and Maharashtra and BJP-ruled Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, farmers were agitated over receiving poor compensation for their lands acquired by the state governments. “Right under the nose of the central government, lands of farmers ares being acquired in Delhi at poor rates,” Mayawati said. Mayawati said BSP would press for an amended Land Acquisition Bill in the Monsoon session of Parliament and if need be the party workers would ‘ghearo’ the Parliament House on the issue. She claimed that unemployment and recent hike in fuel prices have aggrevated the problems being faced by the common man but Congress-led UPA was not serious in dealing with the situation as its leaders were busy pursuing their “narrow political interests.” The BSP asked the cadre to prepare itself for the next assembly elections in Delhi and said they will have to work with a missionary zeal if they wanted to have the party’s government installed in Delhi.advertisement- With PTI inputsFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

Pakistan armyman held for terror links with Hizbul Tehrir

first_imgPakistan Army is under the scanner for alleged terror links once again. Brigadier Ali Khan, a serving Pakistan army officer, has been arrested by army officials for suspected links with a banned terror group. Reports say authorities detained Brigadier Khan for ties with defunct terror group Hizbul Tehrir. The report of the brigadier’s detention was confirmed by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Pakistani media has reported. The senior army officer Brigadier Ali Khan was posted at the GHQ.For more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.last_img read more

Kawhi Leonard leads Raptors to first NBA Finals

first_imgDA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next DRAKE WATCHRaptors fan and ‘global ambassador’ Drake sat in his regular seat adjacent to the Toronto bench. The rapper wore a black hoodie with ‘KAWHI ME A RIVER’ printed on the back.STREET PARTYOutside the downtown arena, fans flooded streets, bringing traffic to a standstill. One video posted on social media showed a group of fans partying on the roof of a Toronto city bus. Fans surrounded Marc Gasol’s car as he was driven out of the arena , and the center rolled down his window to trade high fives with the crowd.BIRTHDAY BOYToronto’ reserve Norman Powell scored nine points on his 26th birthday. Standing at the back of the room, Powell’s mother wished him a happy birthday at the end of her son’s press conference.FAMILIAR POSITIONThe last team to overcome an 0-2 deficit and win a conference finals was Oklahoma City, which beat San Antonio in six games in 2012 after losing the first two on the road. Ibaka played for that Thunder team, while Leonard was a Spurs rookie.UP NEXTThe NBA Finals comes to Canada for the first time when the Raptors host the Warriors on Thursday night. Toronto swept Golden State in the regular season. View comments ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP Toronto was eliminated by LeBron James and the Cavaliers in three straight postseasons before shaking things up last summer with the acquisition of Leonard, the 2014 NBA Finals MVP who was acquired from San Antonio and has carried the Raptors in this postseason.“He’s the best player in the league and we’re happy he’s in Toronto,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said.Asked about Ujiri’s compliment, Leonard said he’s focused on different goals.“I just want to win,” he said. “I don’t care about being the best player. I want to be the best team.”Antetokounmpo had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Bucks, but the NBA’s top team in the regular season saw its bid for a first finals berth in 45 years come to a disappointing end with a fourth consecutive defeat.“Man, obviously when you’re up 2-0, that doesn’t mean nothing,” Antetokounmpo said. “You’ve got to learn how to come out and close out games, especially after Game 3. We’ve got to get better as a team, and we’ve got to get better individually.”Even Nurse found his team’s turnaround hard to believe.“Beating this team four times in a row is almost mind boggling,” Nurse said.Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said it hurt to see a great season end.“The roster that was put together for this season, as the season started going, you started feeling like it was special and could do special things, including advancing past tonight, but it didn’t happen,” Budenholzer said. It sure did. Now imagine how it will sound when the NBA Finals come to Toronto for the first time next week.Leonard had 27 points and 17 rebounds to lead the Raptors into the finals for the first time with a 100-94 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. His big dunk with 6:46 to go in the fourth quarter was the final basket in a game-changing 26-3 run that began late in the third.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“It was kind of a momentum capper,” Lowry said. “We were on a run, and why not feed the big dog? Let the big dog eat.”The Raptors overcame a 15-point deficit to win the series in six games and will host the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night. Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) holds up the trophy after the team’s 100-94 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the NBA basketball playoffs Eastern Conference finals Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Toronto. The Raptors advanced to the NBA Finals. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)TORONTO — Kyle Lowry stole the ball and pushed it ahead, then waited for Kawhi Leonard to arrive before feeding his All-Star teammate for a thunderous one-handed slam over Giannis Antetokounmpo.“The building exploded after that dunk,” Leonard said.ADVERTISEMENT Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals? PLAY LIST 01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?01:48NBA: Kawhi, George seek more for Clippers than beating Lakers03:12Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war A win is a win It will be the two-time defending champions against a Raptors team that will finally bring the NBA Finals outside the U.S. after entering the league in 1995.“They’re one of the greatest teams in history,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of the Warriors. “It will be a tall task, but we’ll try to figure it out.”Pascal Siakam scored 18 points, Lowry had 17 and Fred VanVleet 14 for the Raptors.Lowry held the game ball and picked up his children after the game, finally getting to the championship round after the Raptors kept falling short against Cleveland.“It’s taken a long time to get here in my career,” Lowry said. “I’ve run into one guy for a while.”ADVERTISEMENT Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Down 76-71 to start the fourth, the Raptors tied it with an 8-2 run while Leonard and Antetokounmpo were both on the bench. Serge Ibaka’s dunk with 10:32 to go tied it at 78.Antetokounmpo returned after a timeout, but Leonard kept sitting. That didn’t matter to Toronto, with Siakam’s basket giving the Raptors an 80-78 lead, their first lead since it was 6-3.Toronto made 12 of 27 3-point attempts, including four of eight in the fourth quarter.Siakam, who missed a pair of free throws late in the fourth quarter of Toronto’s double-overtime win in Game 3, hit one to make it 98-94. Leonard grabbed the rebound on the second and was fouled. He made both, putting the Raptors up 100-94 with 3.9 seconds to go.Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton each made a pair from long range as the Bucks shot 6 for 9 from 3-point range in the first and closed the quarter with 10 unanswered points to lead 31-18. Toronto shot 6 for 19 in the opening quarter, missing six straight twice in the first 12 minutes.The Bucks extended their lead to 38-23 on a 3 by Ersan Ilyasova with 7:46 left until half. Toronto cut the gap to 46-43 on a 3 by VanVleet with 1:07 left in the second, but Eric Bledsoe answered with a 3 and Antetokounmpo split a pair at the line, giving the Bucks a 50-43 advantage at the intermission.The lead went back to 15 in the third before Leonard finished the period with a flourish. He had eight points in the final 2:01 and Toronto closed with a 10-0 run, cutting a 15-point deficit to 76-71.TIP-INSBucks: Milwaukee shot 4 for 16 in the second but three of its made baskets were 3-pointers. … The Bucks had six points in the paint in the first half. They finished with 28. … Budenholzer was called for a technical foul on Milwaukee’s first possession of the second half. Leonard missed the free throw. … Antetokounmpo shot 5 for 10 at the free throw line.Raptors: Danny Green, who missed all three of his field goal attempts in 16 minutes in Game 5, had another rough night. Green shot 0 for 4 in 14 minutes. … Leonard’s 17 rebounds were his most in any game this postseason. … Lowry had eight assists. MOST READ LATEST STORIES Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transportlast_img read more

Editor Publisher Out at Afar Amid Restructuring

first_imgAccording to Sullivan, the changes better position Afar Media to expand across multiple platforms, including a forthcoming social search digital product. “We have connected with a vibrant community of people whose passion is to experience the world through travel by getting beneath the surface of a place and seeing it the way locals do,” he said in a statement.Launched in September, Afar was named by Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni as one of the most notable launches of 2009. Experiential travel magazine Afar has undergone a restructuring with founder and CEO Greg Sullivan also now serving as editor-in-chief, replacing Susan West, who has left the company. Also out is John Sheehy, who had been serving as publisher—a position that has been eliminated.Other staffing changes include the promotions of executive vice president and digital operations managing director Dan Orum to president of Afar Media, co-founder Joe Diaz to vice president of sales and brand development and Derek Butcher to chief architect of Afar Digital and CTO.At the same time, the magazine said it was raising its rate base 50 percent to 75,000 with the March/April issue.last_img read more

Beyond the Fold Behind Ws Experimental Print Format

first_img Just how much more? The double-sided, his-and-hers issue led to a 15 percent growth in print revenue for October. With W publisher Lucy Kriz as our guide, flip through to see how the brand used collectable print to draw in the advertisers.  Prev1 of 7NextUse your ← → (arrow) keys to browse For October 2016, W magazine made it a double. The oversized Condé Nast fashion glossy, known for its candid and adventurous celebrity photoshoots (Tom Hiddleston in his undies, anyone?) produced its latest print issue with two sides and 11 different covers. The result is a viscerally amusing (and sometimes confusing) double feature with multiple four-paneled editorial pieces, and a poster-sized back cover dedicated to Burberry. It takes a cleared-off kitchen table to experience the full layout of the issue (you won’t take it to the beach), yet there is something rather fun about flipping through it. Prev1 of 7NextUse your ← → (arrow) keys to browse Certainly W’s format experimentation is a draw to consumers who appreciate the brand’s inclination to be ahead of the curve. But with 95 percent of its 458,873 circulation coming from subscriptions, spicing things up can mean a lot more for ad revenues than it might for rate base.last_img read more

Court Delays From Harvey Likely To Persist Into 2019

first_img X Share Listen Houston Public Media/ArchiveHarris County Criminal Justice CenterThe Harris County court system is still adjusting to the “new normal” four months after Harvey. The storm wrecked the Criminal Justice Center and the jury assembly building. Jury trials resumed in October, but with many of the courtrooms still out of commission, County Court Manager Ed Wells says judges have to double up.“So in a month’s time, each court has a week of availability basically,” says Wells, “whereas prior to the storm they had four weeks and sometimes five.”That’s likely to be the case for a while. Robert Shaffer, an administrative and district judge for Harris County, estimates it will take a minimum of 12 months to repair the justice center, once the county signs up a contractor. “I hate to be the one to say this, but I really don’t anticipate the Criminal Justice Center being back at full function until sometime in 2019,” says Judge Schaffer.And the downtown courthouses weren’t the only ones that flooded. “The Cypress Annex was hit really hard,” says Harris County Clerk Chris Daniel, “and so they too are operating out of temporary buildings and spaces.”Daniel says at least one major courthouse on the west side also remains out of commission. That’s delaying not only criminal cases but also civil disputes and marriages. 00:00 /01:06 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code:last_img read more

Robotic arm shaped like an elephants trunk w Video

first_img Explore further More information: Festo, based in Denkendorf in Germany, worked with the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation in Stuttgart to design the robotic arm, known as the “Bionic Handling Assistant,” as a project of Festo’s Bionic Learning Network. The arm was designed specifically to be safe when interacting with humans, which the company believes will make it useful in locations such as medical centers, manufacturing plants, mechanical repair workshops, schools, and in the home. The bionic arm is the future of prosthetics, and it’s here today © 2010 Citation: Robotic arm shaped like an elephant’s trunk (w/ Video) (2010, November 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from The gripper at the end of the arm has a novel shape consisting of three fin-shaped fingers constructed from compartments that collapse when the fingers enclose an object, trapping it. The FinGripper design means very little force is required to grasp objects, again reducing any risk of injury. The FinGripper is already being tested on production lines, and three different sizes are being developed, to handle objects from a grapefruit size down to hazelnut size.The Bionic Handling Assistant has been nominated for an award in the Deutscher Zukunftspreis (German Future Award). Previous robots designed by the Bionic Learning Network include other examples of biomimicry such as penguins, jellyfish, aquatic rays and flying fins. Inspired by the elephant’s trunk — a high-tech helper for industry and the homeTeam from Festo and Fraunhofer IPA nominated for “Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2010” The trunk-like arm is made of soft, compliant segments that were created from a polyamide using 3D printing technology, and is driven by a pneumatic system of tiny air chambers lining the interior of the arm. The air chambers are arranged in two rows and are inflated sequentially to provide the required movements. The arm is arranged in three segments to provide S-curve dexterity, and because the air chambers in the segments can be inflated separately, sections of the arm can be made to bend in opposite directions. The gripper is moved by means of air chambers in a fourth segment of the arm, known as the hand axis.The arm has numerous resistance sensors that detect collisions and limit its movements when it senses contact, and this should make it safe for human interaction. Image credit: Festo. ( — A German automation company has come up with a new design for a flexible robotic arm, taking inspiration from the trunk of an elephant. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more